Sports-related Injuries on Kids
My son is active in sports. What can I do to help him prevent sports-related injuries?
Firstly, it is great to know that you are encouraging your son to be physically active. Being physically active is an integral aspect of healthy living, so keep it up!
Active children normally get scrapes and bruises as they play, which are usually mild. On the other end of the spectrum are serious injuries such as those affecting the brain and spinal cord. Those are rare, however, and most injuries fall somewhere in between:
• Sprains and strains. These occur when your son experiences an injury to his ligament, a tough tissue that connects two or more bones at a joint to allow for movement. Ankle sprains are a common type of such injury.
• Growth plate injuries. Growth plates are areas of developing tissues at the end of long bones, typically found in children and teens. When growth in these areas is complete, the growth plates will be replaced by solid bone. Common areas where growth plate injuries can occur include the hand and fingers, forearms, upper and lower legs and the feet.
• Repetitive motion injuries. These injuries occur as a result of overuse or constant stress exerted on muscles and tendons. They cause discomfort and even pain, and are usually treated with rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE).
Minimizing the risk of sports injuries
• For organized sports such as football and badminton, check to make sure that the community club, padang or recreation area your son goes to are properly maintained. Coaches should be trained in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and organizers of competitive sports should have a proper plan to respond to medical emergencies, ideally with at least one certified athletic trainer among the staff to provide immediate care for sports injuries.
• Help your son gear up properly for his choice of sports. For example, properly fitted shoes, mouth guards, injury pads and knee braces are some helpful aids to reduce the risk of sports injury. Some are mandatory for participation, while others are optional but recommended. You can always consult the coach or do a little research online for more information.
• Encourage proper warm-up and cool-down sessions before and after your son’s sports participation. Warm-up exercises readies your son’s muscles for the games ahead by making them more flexible, while cool-down exercises relaxes muscles that may have tightened up during the game.
• You should also encourage your son to follow the rules of the sports – they are there to help keep players safe as well as to keep the game fair.
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The answers given are for information purposes only and not a substitute for professional medical advice, examination, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice from your physician or other qualified health professional before starting any new treatment or making any changes to existing treatment.
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